Saturday, December 13, 2003
Michelle's credit rating must have been awful
It's ridiculously easy to get credit cards in this country. I never paid my rent on time, frequently missed payments on my bills, all that, but still got an offer for a new, platinum, no-interest-for-six-months credit card in the mail nearly every day. They start sending them to you when you're fourteen or something. And yet, Michelle hasn't gotten many at all while I've been in her body, and several that I did send in for were declined.
Today, though - today I got one in the mail. Maybe I've been doing a better job of living within her means these past five months than Michelle ever did. Heck, maybe this is the first steady job she's ever had. I don't know. I've filled out some paperwork to find out, but that'll take time to come. In the meantime, though, I've got a tiny little piece of plastic with which I can buy things over the internet, do a little Christmas shopping without having to have a bunch of cash on hand - I admit, I do feel a little vulnerable in this body - or going through the hassle that is using a check nowadays. Heck, I can check into a hotel room, rent a car (or even just a movie), or buy a plane ticket.
So why am I not on a plane for Seattle right now? Sure, part of it's the dinky credit limit on this thing - with a $1,000 limit, and the cheapest thing on Expedia for the next week being $775, it doesn't give me a lot of wiggle room. But, I'm also kind of scared of the idea. The life I'm leading isn't wholly mine, but I'm somewhat familiar with it. I know the city, I know people, I can get by. I fly to Seattle, and I'm sort of in enemy territory. And enemy territory isn't a great place to be when you're dealing with people who can rip you right out of your body. Also, I've sort of noticed I suck at being a detective. Considering all that's stacked against me, I want to be ready before I force some sort of confrontation.
In the meantime, though, I've got a little more flexability. Always nice to have.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
At least the rain is washing the snow away
Maybe by this weekend the white crap on the way to work will just be a memory, and by March just an indication of how the couple weeks before the day winter technically begins (December 21st) were actually worse than the winter itself, weather-wise. Gotta hope so, at least.
One of the things I hate about being fixed up with someone, either as a man or a woman, is that it gives third parties an interest in my personal life. More than an interest, really, almost a stake. Because if person A sets persons B and C up and it doesn't stick, not only does person A have to worry about practical things, like trying not to invite B and C to the same party without slighting either of them, but it indicates that person A perhaps doesn't know her friends quite as well as she'd thought. And, of course, there's always the possibility that if person B finds person C to be exactly what he neither needs nor wants, well, person B might harbor some resentment toward person A for inflicting person C upon him.
And, yeah, I guess I kind of felt that way toward Jen today. One of the most frustrating things about living Michelle's life is that she apparently never went to college and is just the receptionist, so people can sometimes be rather patronizing toward her. Kate and Jen have been really good about not being that way, especially once we're out of the "work" arena and into hobbies or just hanging out, but last night annoyed me. I know I must give off signals that say I'm a mess, that no matter how well I rehearse and practice, there's something not right about me. I just don't like the idea of other people trying to fix me; they'll have the wrong idea about what I want to be and, besides, I'd like to fix myself if I can.
Kate always asks about the Ass-Kicking at lunch, out of morbid curiosity. I told her that it was decent as far as exploitation flicks go, but that's sort of a sliding scale. Jen said it was fun to watch Carlos pretend not to enjoy it, and I mentioned that Paul didn't like it, so we had to go our separate ways. Jen was sort of disappointed, saying he always struck her as a nice guy, but said she could see him being a little too into trying to "help" someone, now that I mentioned it. Wanting to rescue people was good for his job, but not so much for his personal life. She asked if I forgave her, and I said yes... "Besides, Jen, you should be proud of me; I broke it off before the sex date."
I know, some folks hate the baseball stuff, but let me just say this: I'm glad Andy Petitte signed with the Astros not so much because it means the Yankees won't have him (they'll get someone else, apparently Kevin Brown), but because so many Yankee fans didn't even consider the possibility that he wouldn't resign and were just treating it as a given when discussing next year's roster on-line.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
...And so much for that.
I suppose that, from Jen's perspective, inviting Paul to come to the Weekly Wednesday Ass-Kicking was a mistake, but I can't say I regret it. Better to get all this over with early.
We met up at the Pizzeria Uno across the street at about quarter of seven, listened to Paul and Carlos talk about their days which were, as you might imagine, a heck of a lot more interesting than ours. Sure, Jen and I know we're working for a company that helps enable biological research, but that's just not as exciting or immediate a benefit to society as actually confronting criminals. Even if the criminals are, in Carlos's case, speeders.
Paul first looked uncomfortable when Jen pointed out Kurt, Wei, and Jim; he asked me how I could stand to be in the same room as him. I said it wasn't a big deal; I came to see a movie, not my ex, and I figure the same goes for him. Besides, I told him, he's the one who has to look at me and think damn, I won't even see my flat-chested girlfriend until the weekend, whereas I'm free to do whatever I want and tonight I'm here with him.
Then the movie started. Understand, Robotrix is Hong Kong B-movie schlock. It's a sex-and-violence fest (heavy on the sex) about a scientist who downloads his brain into an android body and procedes to rape and pillage, including a policewoman who gets downloaded into her own robot body. Wackiness ensues.
This is the sort of movie that would be pilloried if given a wide release in America - you can sort of guess that from the use of both the words "rape" and "wackiness" in the same paragraph. Truth be told, I was feeling more than a little squirmy during some of those scenes - they often looked a heck of a lot like the regular sex scenes, of which there were plenty. I think that would have bothered me before July, though obviously not to the same extent.
There was a train for Jen and Carlos right away, but Paul opted to walk me home. "Well," he said, "that was an utter piece of shit."
"Ah, I don't know. It wasn't nearly as bad as the last couple, although I'd like to see more actual martial arts in these things."
"How can you enjoy that as a woman? It's selling rape as entertainment!"
I considered a comment about not knowing how to feel much as a woman, but instead just said "Hey, I didn't like those scene, and Robotrix isn't going to go on my top ten list, but it's not the first time a movie has tried to have it both ways. You just don't usually see it with something sexual in the West. But, hey, you probably enjoyed Independance Day or Godzilla, and people cheer at innocent bystanders getting slaughtered in those."
He gave that half a minute's consideration before saying "I don't think you should go to movies like that."
I stopped in my tracks. "Excuse me?"
"It might just be sort of unhealthy for someone like you who's been kind of promiscuous to see--"
"Are you judging me? You don't know a goddamn thing about me, or what's good for me!"
"Hey, I'm just trying to help!"
"Just trying to help?" I took a deep breath, trying to think whether I would be saying these things in his place. I knew I'd probably be thinking them, but as to what I would say and how I would act... "Am I some kind of project for you? 'How do I get Jen's slutty friend to change her ways?' Or is it some kind of ego boost? 'Just being with me made Jen's slutty friend change her ways!'"
"No! It's just that I see so many girls who started out like you working vice--"
"You're comparing me to prostitutes now?" I held out my arm as he tried to reply, palm-out, not just to stop him from saying anything, but also to measure some distance between us. "Look, I've got issues. You probably can't even conceive of the things that make me want to not get involved with a man. But if I'm going to, it's going to be with someone who respects me, or at the very least doesn't start out looking down on me."
And I walked off.
I'm glad, too. Maybe I was a little hard on Paul, but I think I was fair. It's not a bad thing to be attracted to someone's vulnerability, but it's not something I'm totally cool with. It's got to be at least as obvious that there's something you like and admire about the other person, I think, or else there's something predatory about the attraction. And I can't for the life of me think of what Paul liked about me. Heck, I don't think he even commented on the body during the two dates.
I admit that I may have just been looking for an excuse, because I'm really not looking for a relationship until things get back to normal. They're complicated enough as it is.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Yesterday's entry is back, under the complaint about it not being there. Funny how that works.
Still such a dork
I used to be a big collector. Well, maybe not a big collector - when friends looked at my shelves, they were often impressed by the volume of toys, DVDs, comics, Atari games, etc., but they knew that there were other steps to be taken afterward, the difference between enthusiasm and sickness. Nothing on my shelf was still in plastic-wrap, and the comics could be read without untaping a plastic bag and sliding it out. Very few autographs, as well. I never saw the point; it's just a bit of writing that keeps fanatics from using something for its intended purpose. I suppose they have some value as a memento of meeting someone you admire, or evidence of same, but I've got nothing to prove and if it didn't make enough of an impression on you that you need a memento, it's not that big a deal.
But I did like seeing things lined up in order on the shelf. It annoys me, for instance, when a series of books changes their trade dress midway through, even if it's something as small as Tom Clancy's name going from above the title to the left of it on his hardcovers. Paramount moved their logo from the bottom of the spine to the top on their DVDs midway through releasing the Star Trek films, and that looks goofy. And, good lord, there is just no way to get a consistent look from the three Terminator films on DVD, no matter which editions you buy.
But now my collections are gone, and I'm not sure what to do about that. I was in the mall tonight, doing a little Christmas-and-me shopping, and Suncoast was torture.
On one shelf, they had the new box set releases of Deep Space Nine Season 7 and Buffy Season 5. I look at the $100 price tag on DS9 and move on, but I'm tempted by Buffy. This season is where a lot of the show's problem's start - the weekly torture of wondering why no-one puts a sharp piece of wood through Spike's heart, the relentlessly downbeat atmosphere, the season finale where Joss Whedon basically pulls an explanation out of his ass that makes no sense and which just has to be reversed anyway - but I've got the previous four...
Only I don't. Michelle has them, if she hasn't put them up on ebay or something because she intends to keep my life and has got no interest in my hobbies. And, if that's the case, do I want to go back and buy them again? Buying the same non-consumable thing - not even a quality upgrade - multiple times is no fun. And it's expensive; Michelle's paycheck can't swing rebuilding my collection.
So I put it back. Makes it easier to make a clean break before the sucking that is Seasons 6 & 7 anyway.
Worse, though, are the Muppet toys. Palisades has been putting out some just terrific Muppet action figures since last year, and I had a complete collection before the swap. Including mail-away and exclusive ones, like Kermit in the tuxedo, Vacation Fozzie, and even Vanishing Cream Beaker, and the playsets (Animal w/ Drum Set is one of the best toys ever). And there are the new ones on the shelf - Statler, Waldorf, Clifford, and Bear On Patrol are Wave 6 - plus the last couple waves I hadn't picked up.
And if I don't buy them now, I'll have to pay inflated prices on ebay later. The thing is, most of the toys in my original collection are out of production. Dr. Teeth was hard to find a year ago, let alone now. Rebuilding my collection is more than I can afford as Michelle, but if I don't get switched back soon and they're discontinued...
I suppose the smart thing would be to, oh, grow the heck up or find new hobbies (or collections I can start from scratch). But that's surrendering another piece of my identity, and I'm loath to do that.
In the end, I picked up Firefly (not going to be any more seasons of that) and a couple Muppet figures from Wave 4. I'll probably be picking up more over the next few weeks, in the hopes of someday unifying my collection.
Where's that multi-topic entry I added last night? I thought it was saved before Blogger went all wonky.
Now I've got to start digging through cache files. Son of a...
Monday, December 08, 2003
Having a bad hair day in and of itself doesn't bother me - I mean, I don't want to make the company look bad or anything, but I really don't care how I look outside that unless I'm looking to get noticed. It's just the way it sort of acts like a rebuke - looking in the mirror in the ladies' room and having it say that no matter how much I may feel like I've got a handle on this deal, at least in terms of getting through the day, there's always one more thing that I don't know how to deal with.
In this case, it's apparently the static electricity built up from wearing a wool hat on the ride in this morning. You'd think that long hair would just tend to stay down more, with each strand being bigger and therefore more subject to gravity, but no dice.
Speaking of that ride in, it was packed - apparently everyone who would normally drive to work chickened out and decided to take the Green Line, with no extra cars added. Made for a rough commute, since the B-line is already slow to begin with, what with there being something like five thousand stops before you add the trolley stopping at any random street corner or stop light. Weigh the cars down like that, and it takes even longer.
Despite it being so slow, I got about half the reading I usually get through done. We were packed in so tight that, not only was grabbing a handhold unnecessary because the other people were keeping you upright and vice versa, but I couldn't even maneuver my arm to get my magazine in front of my face half the time. It's always uncomfortable when you're sharing so little space with so many people, but then the guy behind me got an erection.
I felt kind of embarassed for the guy - not an "is that all you've got" embarassment, but just because I've been there. Not actually pressed up against a complete stranger, but every guy has had a seemingly random boner in a situation where he felt people couldn't help but notice. You don't want people to get the wrong idea and think your some kind of sex maniac or something, and there's not much you can do about it without looking really bad, so you try and think of every non-sexy thing you can imagine. And it doesn't work (instead, you're left with the horrifying thought that something in your subconscious finds King Kong Bundy hot, since that image didn't fix the situation).
Girls don't get it. Sure, a stray sexual thought or a good-looking guy may get them excited, but extra-perky nipples and a case of the fidgets can be explained away or covered up. Even happens to me on occasion; I just grit my teeth and rearrange my shirt if it's tight enough to be a problem.
What I'm getting at is that I completely understood what the kid behind me was going through... And I still felt kind of threatened. I mean, hey, there was only his shorts, his jeans, my slacks, and my panties between his unit and my butt. I could see our reflections in the window, and he quite frankly looked like he wanted to die, but what if he changed his mind? What if he lost control further?
Fortunately, enough people got off at BU West for him to take a seat and think unsexy thoughts. No apology, which is OK - it's the kind of thing you want to pretend didn't happen.
Speaking of uncontrollable urges, I'm addicted to the site statistics. Knowing that Sunday is the busiest day for the blog is strangely fascinating. Seeing the site grow is a weird feeling - it's not really helping me get back into my body, but just knowing that other people know what's going on is a small comfort, even if most are just reading it as some sort of science-fictional soap opera.
The part that I love, though, is the list of the last 30 or so referring sites. A lot come from sites like metamorphose.org about people being turned into other people or things (especially men to women), but there's usually a smattering of other sites in there. One time I saw a reference from the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup. The most fun, though, are the search engines.
Half the time they're looking for "Transplanted Life", like they'd heard of me or read this a while ago or something. The other ones, though, are more fun. Currently on the list are "Supergirl Halloween photos 2003" and "bra strap embarassment". Othertimes I've seen links from "Ludivine Sagnier's nipples", "Sarah Polley bra", or other names from movies I've talked about. Sometimes they're just really weird, like "how do eyes get transplanted?" or "groped on the Boston subway". I wonder how many of those folks come back regularly. Sometimes I wonder just how far my site had to be down on the list before people found it. It's fun to plug the queries into an engine and find out, sometimes.
(Now, I've probably scared a bunch of people off from reading this because they think they could be found. If I were any good at that, though, I probably would know more about my own life).
Oh, and the most popular search: "Allston Cinema Kung Fu". TL must be on like the fourth page of that. I think this is what you're looking for (Google doesn't seem to have picked up the new page for the Weekly Wednesday Ass-Kicking after the Allston Cinema Underground went kaput): http://www.hometown.aol.com/jpgdvd
Sunday, December 07, 2003
First date with Paul
A mixed bag. It was kind of surreal, going through the motions of putting on lipstick, trying to come up with something to wear that was date-worthy but also wouldn't have me freezing Michelle's ass off waiting for the subway, trying to remember what minimal information I'd had about him while all the while wondering what the hell I was doing it for. I actually picked up the phone to call it off at one point, ready to explain that I wasn't ready to be "out there" yet but call me three years from now if I'm still a woman, because by that point I'll probably be past thinking this will end with me back in my own body. That wasn't what I was planning to say - I was thinking something more along the lines of Jen & Carlos mean well but they've got no idea what I'm going through and thus no idea what I need.
I didn't, though. I figured, what the hell, at the very least its a learning experience like everything else in this body has been. It's just, dates lead to relationships, and I can't see how the heck I can have an honest one right now. I really wanted to cut and run, find a club, and just get laid. Enjoy the orgasm right now without having to worry about what my willingness to go out with a guy says about how much I'm not the same person I was six months ago or what happens if and when I switch back or anything like that. I understand that the idea of no-strings, no-risk intimacy is a fraud, but the clarity of thinking that way is appealling.
Anyway, it took me a while to get to the Boston Common movie theater - the B Line isn't quick under the best of conditions, which today (well, yesterday, I guess) wasn't. I felt kind of silly once I got there, because I could probably walk past him a dozen times and never know it. Heck, he'd only seen me in a spandex halloween costume and a blonde wig; kind of the opposite of my heavy coat and normal brown hair. Heck, if he was just looking for the girl with big knockers who appeared to be waiting for someone, even that would be difficult, since a winter coat kind of camoflages the figure. I just stood in the agreed-upon place, waiting. After half an hour, it really got kind of annoying - he'd been the one who wanted to go out with me, right? Sure, if I got stood up, it would basically be Michelle who got stood up, since he didn't know much about me, personally, but still, my time's worth something.
Finally, he showed up. Kind of a weird experience - this stranger walks up, says "excuse me, are you Michelle?", and I still have to take a second to think that he means me. Then there's the sort of semi-blind-date appraisal, where I look at him and, really, have the chance to nip it all in the bud with a little white lie (or, in my case, arguably a little white truth). And I don't have the experience in appraising men that a desirable 25-year-old woman like Michelle would have; I was pushed into dating Kurt and have barely gotten used to trying to guess whether a guy would be good in the sack. I guess he looks OK; square jaw, really dark hair, a face that sort of looks like its in shadows even under fluorescent lights. Handsome, I guess. Actually, that's overstating what I got out of that first look. "Ordinary-looking, average-sized nose" would be closer to the truth. But I say yes, shake his hand, and walk over to see what's playing. The preview of Something's Gotta Give is sold out, but Love Actually is starting in fifteen minutes. He buys the tickets and I'm thinking, god, what has happened to me - a guy is buying me movie tickets and popcorn because I'm the girl on a date that I could have easily decided against, and it's a romantic comedy to boot. It's one thing to see this sort of thing with Kate and/or Jen, but as someone's guest...
Fortunately, while I'm wrapped up in all this, he's talking about his drive in, and finding parking, and shoveling his car out of the driveway. Suburban people who are reading this, I know I can't claim to represent all city-dwellers on this, but I just don't care. I get that digging out and driving in and then trying to stow your car when the city's declared a parking ban and garages are either full or closed is difficult but, geez, it's not a conversation I can really be included in, and quite frankly, after hearing people complain about it ever since I started college, I've come to feel that it's your own damn fault for owning a car and a house to begin with. If you're going to be a car person, then don't bring it into the city, because they don't belong here, and in fact don't belong any closer than the nearest park & ride where you can get on a train. He talks about this all through both lines and practically to the theater. I say, hey, my trolley ride was fifteen minutes longer than it normally is, but I had a book with me, and I catch him almost saying "you don't understand, it's not the same" before he remembers that I'm the one controlling access to the boobs (or whatever's motivating this particular guy to want me to want to spend time with him after the movie's over). Sure, he's controlling access to the penis, but I know from experience that guys tend not to think that women think that way.
We talk for a while about how much more of a hard selling environment movie theaters have become - just waiting in the lobby, I felt bombarded with Cat In The Hat merchandising tie-ins, there must be ten minutes of non-trailer advertisements in front of the feature, and a guy even wheeled a cart with popcorn, soda, and candy into the theater just in case we'd opted to forgo the concession lines and vending machines. There were, at least, trailers for the new Charlie Kaufman-scripted movie with Jim Carrey and something called The Big Bounce with Owen Wilson.
The movie itself was pretty good. It's a really girly movie; I have a hard time reconciling the Richard Curtis who writes these very safe Hugh Grant romantic comedies with the Richard Curtis who co-wrote all four series of Blackadder. Sure, he keeps using Rowan Atkinson, but I keep waiting for the moment when something really twisted will happen, and it never comes. That's okay, I like romantic comedies, and this one's loaded with appealling actors playing appealling characters who say funny things. We go out for drinks after the movie, and spend a little time talking about it. He asks which relationship in the movie I'd like the two of us to have; I counter with telling him to write his choice down while I do the same so that the second person to answer the question can't just agree with the first. We both write down the cutest ones, of course - the Colin Firth whirlwind-romance-despite-a-language-barrier for me and the Hugh Grant love-at-first-sight-even-though-they're-not-social-peers one for him. I'm thinking, of course, that the Laura Linney one, where there's this third party who prevents any real intimacy is probably closer to the mark, and honestly I'd rather be the girl who's up front about trying to seduce Alan Rickman.
That, at least, is not to be right away. He's looking out the window at the snow, so I decide to let him get back to his car while I get back to the T. It's too bad, because he is, once I've had more of a chance to get a look at him, rather... um, what's the female thing to say about a guy that's equivelent to a guy saying a girl is bonable? And he's nice, if a little more conventional than I'd initially guessed from that Godzilla costume. He seems to like me, though, and he's polite and even funny when he lets his guard down. He's actually got a great self-deprecating sense of humor; he makes his job (he just made detective, assigned to the Vice squad) funny.
I kind of wish the weather hadn't made us both late and kind of easily annoyed; when I look at the date, from this perspective, that delay's really the only thing wrong with it, and it just sort of tainted the rest.